From side hustle to self-employed: turn your beauty obsession into a business

Do you spend 90% of your time watching Youtube tutorials from famous beauty bloggers? Or are you always spending your weekends doing a friend’s make-up before that special event? It might be time to turn your side hustle into your main gig and set up your beauty business. Michael Gottlieb reveals.

A startling 61% of Australia’s small businesses are sole traders, that’s almost 1.32 million ‘solopreneurs’ who are making the switch from employee to self employed.

We’ve put together some ideas to get your beauty business off the ground, so you can be part of the few who do.

Making the switch from employee to self-employed beauty therapist

Dreaming of breaking free from the employee mindset and starting your own beauty business?

Becoming a business owner is a challenging, yet rewarding experience, and the rise of small and micro businesses in Australia is a testament to the freedom that running a small enterprise provides. You get to be your own boss, with more flexible working arrangements to fit around your life stuff, plus there’s also the potential to earn more than you ordinarily would as an employee.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail 

Before you set up shop so to speak, you’ll need a business plan, especially if you need to secure a loan. Not only will it help you refine your ideas and define your objectives, but a solid business plan will give you the best chance of survival. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 13 percent of small businesses failed in 2018 with the primary cause of failure being poor strategic management.

When writing your business plan consider the immediate first steps involved with the setting up of your business, as well as planning and goals for the first year, the first three years and the first five years.  A good business plan should include the following:

What services will you provide?

Who are you offering them to?

Who are your competitors?

How will you attract business?

What will you charge for your services?

What are the set-up costs and ongoing expenses?

What are your financial forecasts, i.e. how much money do you plan on making?

You can download some great business plan templates online, such as the one available from

The fun stuff: finance and budgeting

Getting your financing and budgeting right from the get-go is a key element to start-up success. Traditionally, obtaining finance to start a new business was near impossible, but fortunately there are many options available today.

Some of the ways you can finance your business may include using your own savings, borrowing from family or friends, obtaining a loan from a financial institution (you may need to use your residential property as security), revenue-based funding, crowd funding, and Federal and State business funding programs.

But before you take out a hefty loan, seeking professional advice is important to ensure the option you choose meets your circumstances and objectives. In addition, ask yourself ‘do I really need to splash out on fancy décor?’ Money spent on promoting your salon may be money more wisely spent.

Marketing your beauty business

Let’s be honest, overnight sensations are very few and far between, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend your life savings on marketing your salon. There are a lot of low cost options to get your business noticed.

Invest in a website. These days it’s cheap and often free to use one of the many website building tools that are available online. Make sure you update your content regularly and do some research into optimising your site according to Google search terms.

Consider online advertising. There are many online business directories where you can you can list your salon for free or for a small charge, for example, Google My Business which helps people from your local area find you. Don’t automatically rule out paid advertising – Google Ad Words if done smartly can be very effective if you have a small budget to spend.

Make the most of social media. Facebook and Instagram accounts can be very effective if you use them to promote your services, give beauty tips and product advice, and run competitions. Another way to promote your business via social media is by following and engaging with influencers in the beauty industry to help get yourself noticed, this a valuable source of networking worth investing in.

Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients for feedback and recommendations. You can do this via the ‘Recommend’ function on Facebook or if you have set up Google My Business your clients can provide a Google review. To create momentum, you may offer an incentive such as ‘$5 off your next visit’ for leaving a review.

Reduce the risk factor

Like every business venture there is an element of risk, but by doing your homework you can reduce your risk and greatly increase your chances of success.

Fortunately, you can also take out insurance to help protect your salon against some of the many risks it will face daily. A good insurance plan should be a priority for every salon owner, regardless of the size of your business. One unexpected incident is enough to throw your salon into turmoil and potentially put you out of business.

For example, if you’re a mobile make up artist, you might want to consider Public Liability* insurance as part of your start up costs. Just imagine, you’re in a client’s home giving them a facial. What if you accidentally spill that chemical peel all over their expensive rug? Public liability insurance could help protect your business against legal fees and compensation costs if a customer, member of the public, or a supplier sues you for injury or damage to their property as a result of your alleged negligent business activity.


Michael Gottlieb is the CEO of BizCover. The company offers multiple competitive quotes from some of Australia’s leading insurers online, in a matter of minutes. To find out more or tailor a policy for your beauty business, visit


As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information provided is general only and should not be relied upon as advice. . BizCover™ Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769).

For more news and updates, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.


Leave a comment: